Bombshell: Comey Admits Leaking Memos to Press

Adan Salazar
Jun. 09, 2017

Former FBI Director James Comey admitted Thursday to orchestrating leaks to the press in hopes of prompting the appointment of a special prosecutor in the FBI's Russia probe.

The fired FBI director had kept written memos of his meetings with President Trump.

In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey admitted to giving his memos to his Columbia law professor "good friend" Daniel C. Richman to leak to the press following Trump's tweets insinuating he had recorded his conversations with Comey.

Under oath, Comey told Sen. Susan Collins:

"The president tweeted on Friday after I got fired that I better hope there's not tapes.

I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night cause it didn't dawn on me originally that there might be corroboration for our conversation, and my judgement was I needed to get that out into the public square and so I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter, didn't do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel."
The Twitter-sphere immediately cried foul after the former FBI head admitted to leaking his own memos, with some wondering whether he'd committed a criminal offense and others speculating he could have also leaked confidential info.

The president's son, Donald Trump Jr., commented the FBI director was more than willing to leak damaging info against his father, but nothing that exonerates him, as also highlighted during the hearing by Sen. Marco Rubio.

In subsequent testimony to Sen. Roy Blunt, Comey claimed he believed it OK to have his memos leaked as they were his personal "recollections" as a "private citizen."

Here's a transcript of their exchange, via Politico:
BLUNT: You said something earlier and I donít want to fail to follow up on, you said after dismissed, you gave information to a friend so that friend could get that information into the public media.

COMEY: Correct.

BLUNT: What kind of information was that? What kind of information did you give to a friend?

COMEY: That the ó the Flynn conversation. The president had asked me to let the Flynn ó forgetting my exact own words. But the conversation in the Oval Office.

BLUNT: So you didnít consider your memo or your sense of that conversation to be a government document. You considered it to be, somehow, your own personal document that you could share to the media as you wanted through a friend?

COMEY: Correct. I understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president. As a private citizen, I thought it important to get it out.

BLUNT: Were all your memos that you recorded on classified or other memos that might be yours as a private citizen?

COMEY: Iím not following the question.

BLUNT: You said you used classified ó

COMEY: Not the classified documents. Unclassified. I donít have any of them anymore. I gave them to the special counsel. My view was that the content of those unclassified, memorialization of those conversations was my recollection recorded.

BLUNT: So why didnít you give those to somebody yourself rather than give them through a third party?

COMEY: Because I was weary the media was camping at the end of my driveway at that point. I was actually going out of town with my wife to hide. I worried it would be feeding seagulls at the beach. If it was I who gave it to the media. I asked my friend, make sure this gets out.

BLUNT: It does seem to me what you do there is create a source close to the former director of the FBI as opposed to taking responsibility yourself for saying, here are the records. Like everybody else, I have other things Iíd like to get into but Iím out of time.
The Trump administration has made it known it would aggressively pursue "criminal leaks."

"The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security 'leakers' that have permeated our government for a long time," the president noted on social media in February, at the time unaware the FBI director was leaking to the press.

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